Former long-serving top aide to Hillary Clinton notes in a newly broadcast CBS interview that her tumultuous relationship with disgraced ex-husband and former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner nearly “killed” her, adding she believes it had may have even led to Clinton’s 2016 election loss to GOP nominee Donald Trump.
In an interview with CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell, Abedin, who was born in the U.S. but raised in a “sheltered Muslim society” in Saudi Arabia, said she is speaking out about certain issues now because she doesn’t want to leave the “history” of her life in someone else’s hands.
“Well, I think for most of my adult life, certainly in the last 25 years that I’ve been in public service or in the public eye, I have been the invisible person behind the primary people in my life,” she said after spending 25 years with Clinton.
“But what I realize [now] is that, if you don’t tell your story, somebody else is writing your history,” the “Both/And: A Life In Many Worlds” author noted.
Abedin notes that she had heard about Weiner before actually meeting and dating him — that he was a part of New York’s congressional delegation and an “outspoken, outgoing, eligible bachelor on the Hill.” But she admits that’s really all she knew about him.
She went on to say she and Weiner began dating around 2007, writing in her book that her “head started spinning and didn’t stop” after their first kiss, noting further it was her first really serious relationship.
Not long after they began talking about marriage.
“That same night that he says to you, ‘I’m broken, I need you to fix me,’ you also pick up his Blackberry?” O’Donnell asked.
“And what did you find?” the host pressed.
“I found a text from a woman, a very flirtatious text, from a stranger,” Abedin responded. “I was shocked. And I showed it to him right away and said, ‘What is this? Can you explain this to me?’ And he did: he was a public personality, and that people communicated with him all the time.”
But in her book, she wrote from the benefit of “hindsight” that the first incident “was a warning sign.”
Eventually, she would discover — and it would be widely reported — that Weiner engaged in several other instances of sexual improprieties, leading to his resignation from Congress and likely costing him a New York City mayoral bid. The incidents included sexting a minor girl indecent photos of himself under the moniker “Carlos Danger,” a crime that landed him in prison.
“Using the alias Carlos Danger, with a woman whose name is Sydney Leathers, sending her explicit photos. What happens to your world?” O’Donnell asked.
“Well, my world exploded again, in the most unexpected, shocking, humiliating, horrible way,” Abedin said. “We crossed a threshold. It was just surviving at that point.”
Later, she said, “We were just two severely broken, traumatized people. I couldn’t see that he was completely disintegrating. And we just went into our corners.”
Afterward, the couple moved into a duplex so they could continue sharing their son, Jordan, to give him some stability. But the situation did not improve and soon the marriage was irretrievably broken.
A month after Clinton declared her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, a picture of Weiner in bed with the couple’s son was leaked, leading to investigations by Child Protective Services.
Not long after, Weiner was caught in the underage sexting scandal and some of Hillary Clinton’s emails were discovered on one of his laptops.
“Just 11 days before the election, reported.. He would finally , but many considered the damage had been done,” CBS News
In her book, Abedin wrote:
This man Weiner was going to ruin me. And now he was going to jeopardize Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.
She then added that she called Weiner:
‘Anthony,’ I said, wanting to shake him through the phone, ‘if she loses this election, it will be because of you and me.’ That night I wrote one line in my notebook. ‘I do not know how I am going to survive this. Help me, God.’
Clinton went on to post a huge electoral vote loss to Trump.
“Hillary Clinton could be in her second term as president right now,” O’Donnell observed.
“That is a thought that crosses my mind probably more than it crosses hers,” said Abedin. “But that is something that lives here [pointing to her heart] that I think I’m gonna take to my grave.”
“When you say ‘take it to your grave,’ do you mean because you think about something you could have done to help fix the situation, make it better, because you’re kind of in that fix-it role?” O’Donnell pressed.
“I have reconciled – and it took me a while to reconcile – that it was not all my fault. I lived with that. I did. I don’t believe that anymore. It’s more a sense of an ache in the heart, that it didn’t have to be. And also, my belief that she would have been an extraordinary president, that she really would have, and what it meant for women and girls, not just in this country but around the world,” said Abedin, who is still at Hillary Clinton’s side often, such as when former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized recently.
And she also says that her relationship with her ex- is “good.”
“He is my co-parent. And I learned the full truth, I processed it and moved on. I wish him well. He, I hope, wishes me well. I think he does.”
“You’re not angry with him?”
“I can’t live in that space anymore,” Abedin responded. “I tried that. It almost killed me.”
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